Jordan Lawlar worked through what was probably the first prolonged slump of his life. He erased nearly all questions about his defense at shortstop. The 21-year-old also earned his first big league callup.
All in all, it was a highly impressive season for the D-backs’ top prospect, who managed to both live up to high expectations while demonstrating the capacity to adjust and improve.
“He’s a special player, a special talent, a special person,” D-backs farm director Josh Barfield said. “He’s going to play in multiple All-Star Games and play this game for a very long time.”
In 490 plate appearances between Double-A Amarillo and Triple-A Reno, Lawlar hit .278/.378/.496 with 20 home runs and 36 stolen bases in 41 attempts.
Those numbers look even better considering the funk in which Lawlar was stuck for the better part of five weeks. For a 28-game stretch in April and May, he hit just .162 with 38 strikeouts. But he managed to make the necessary adjustments and took off from there.
“He learned a lot about himself as a hitter and what makes him successful, and what he needs to do to get out of ruts like that,” Barfield said. “I think ultimately it’s going to help him long-term. It’s nice when you see someone so young handle adversity so well.”
Lawlar’s improvement at shortstop was even more notable. He entered the year with some evaluators believing he would need to shift off the position. He finished it making highlight-reel plays in the majors.
Lawlar is said to have found an arm slot that worked for him, and more accurate throws seemed to lead to more confidence throughout his defensive game.
“If you watch it now,” Barfield said, “it looks like a completely different person from where he was in March.”
Lawlar has not looked comfortable during his big league cameo, but he is expected to figure prominently into Arizona’s future. The club might put him on the same track next year as outfielder Corbin Carroll in hopes that he can vie for Rookie of the Year honors the way Carroll has this year.